The Blue Jays have made news by bolstering their big league roster this winter, and their farm system has weathered the loss of some top young talent. Toronto still has some interesting youngsters to follow, though, and that was reflected in the 2013 MLB.com list of Top 100 Prospects.
That list, released Tuesday, finds the Blue Jays with two high-caliber arms to watch in the years ahead. Aaron Sanchez, a lofty Draft pick in 2010, was ranked as the 35th-best prospect in baseball, and international signee Roberto Osuna weighed in at No. 90 despite being just 17 years old.
Two other players with Toronto ties -- Travis d'Arnaud (No. 6) and Noah Syndergaard (29) -- received lofty rankings. Both players, dealt to the Mets in exchange for R.A. Dickey in December, were ranked in the top 30, helping New York to the seventh-highest score among all teams.
Another trio of prospects -- Jake Marisnick (70), Justin Nicolino (72) and Adeiny Hechevarria (82) -- was flipped to the Miami Marlins in the blockbuster that brought Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and company to Toronto. The Blue Jays, in other words, could've had seven players on the list.
The annual ranking of baseball's biggest and brightest young talent is assembled by MLB.com's Draft and prospect expert Jonathan Mayo, who compiles input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, closeness to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLB.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2013.
Despite the exodus of Minor League talent, Sanchez, the 34th overall selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, gives the Blue Jays one of the game's most intriguing arms. The 20-year-old right-hander starred at Class A Lansing last year, notching an 8-5 record with a 2.49 ERA.
Sanchez, a native of Barstow, Calif., struck out 97 batters in 90 1/3 innings with Lansing. Sanchez has worked to an 11-11 record and a 3.34 ERA in his brief Minor League career, and he's struck out 190 batters in 169 2/3 innings while walking 94.
Osuna, who signed out of Mexico at the age of 16, has built his reputation on advanced skill for his age. Osuna, the nephew of former big leaguer Antonio Osuna, won't turn 18 until next month, but he posted a 2-0 record and a 2.27 ERA last year while splitting time between two levels.
Toronto paid $1.5 million to sign Osuna from the Mexico City Red Devils in 2011, and he's powerfully built at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds. The right-hander still has quite a bit of development to do, but he only allowed two home runs in his first 12 professional appearances in the United States.
Osuna, modest statistics aside, requires some perspective. The youngster could still be competing against high-school opponents, but he's plying his trade professionally. Osuna, much like the rest of the list, is strong on potential, but it will take time to watch him turn it into production.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com.